Dissolving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac may hurt borrowers
Source: The LA Times
What will the proposed elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mean for consumers? In the absence of a government guarantee, experts contend that mortgage rates are likely to rise, and the widespread availability of 30-year mortgages would be jeopardized. Economists at Moody’s Analytics estimate the average mortgage borrower would see interest rates increase by one-half to three-quarters of a percentage point.
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Consumer Watchdog says mortgage servicing still riddled with problems
Source: The Washington Post
Error-prone and even abusive practices still plague the mortgage servicing business, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The report indicates that servicers have made a variety of mistakes, including sloppy payment processing, poor communications with consumers, and insufficient programs to ensure compliance with federal laws. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the CFPB is tasked with oversight of consumer products, including mortgages and credit cards, due to issues that stemmed from the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
Making sense of the story
- The CFPB has launched investigations into the conduct of banks and other financial firms since many companies continue to violate the terms of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement.
- In some instances, homeowners faced extra fees due to the sloppy payment processing of mortgage servicers. Also, some homeowners were not notified that their loans were transferred to another company.
- Non-bank servicing firms, which are now subject to examinations, reportedly lack formal procedures to address consumer complaints or ensure quality control. The report shows an absence of systems for compliance management.
- “Deceptive communications to borrowers” about modification requests remains an issue, and services failed to help struggling homeowners find more manageable repayment plans where possible. Applications for loan modifications also took too long to process.
- New mortgage servicing standards are set to take effect in January 2014 to force servicers to give homeowners easy access to information about their loans, among other things. The CFPB issued the new standards to promote greater transparency.
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FHA Trims Waiting Period for Borrowers Who Experienced Foreclosure
The FHA is reducing the amount of time a borrower must wait in order to receive an FHA-insured mortgage, according to a new mortgagee letter from the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Currently set at three years, the FHA now allows eligible borrowers to receive an FHA-insured loan in as little as one year. Eligible borrowers include those who experienced unemployment or other severe reduction in income and were unable to make their monthly payments, and ultimately lost their homes to a pre-foreclosure sale, deed-in-lieu, or foreclosure.
FHA is allowing for the consideration of borrowers who have experienced an economic event and can document that:
- Certain credit impairments were the result of a loss of employment or a significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control;
- The borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event; and,
- The borrower has completed housing counseling.
The guidance in the mortgagee letter is applicable to purchase money mortgages in all FHA programs, with the exception of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.
Borrowers who may be otherwise ineligible for an FHA-insured mortgage due to FHA’s waiting period for bankruptcies, foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu, and short sales, as well as delinquencies and/or indications of derogatory credit, including collections and judgments, may be eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage if the borrower:
- Can document that the delinquencies and/or indications of derogatory credit are the result of an economic event as defined in the mortgagee letter,
- Has completed satisfactory housing counseling, as described in this ML, and
- Meets all other HUD requirements.
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Housing inventory crunch seems to be easing up
Source: The LA Times
A new report from Realtor.com indicates that the number of listings rose 1.4 percent from June, which is the fifth consecutive monthly rise. In comparison with last year, the number of homes listed for sale has started to increase in some markets. Read the full story
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Tax-Free Accounts for Homes
Source: The New York Times
A coalition led by Smart Growth America of Washington is calling for policy that would allow Americans to have a tax-exempt account to save for the down payment on a mortgage, just like tax-free savings accounts for health care and college tuition. Proponents suggest it would encourage Americans to start saving earlier for a down payment and closing costs. Pretax contributions could be made to such an account for up to 10 years.
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Should Home Sellers Overprice or Underprice Real-Estate Listings?
Source: The Wall Street Journal
When setting an asking price, there are two major strategic approaches: overpricing when inventory is low to get higher initial offers, or pricing homes below nearby properties to instigate a bidding war in a market with pent-up demand. But what’s the best method? New research on a behavioral trait called “anchoring” sheds some light on the power of price. Read the full story
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